FALL 2023 NEWSLETTER: Member Spotlight JULIE CROSBY
Letter From the President
A Change is Gonna Come
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ~ Audre Lorde
In these uncertain times, the solidarity and unity we've cultivated within our community shine more brilliantly than ever. Our journey together has been a testament to the power of collaboration, creativity, and our shared purpose. As we stand together, let's acknowledge the challenges surrounding us. The ongoing strikes of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) serve as stark reminders of the importance of collective action. These organizations, like ours, are built on the principle that together we can advocate for fair wages, working conditions, and creative rights.
Our role as producers is intertwined with these events. We must stand for the well-being and fair treatment of all who contribute and collaborate to the magic of cinema and television. We must also continue to be vocal about our need for guaranteed minimum salaries, comprehensive health insurance, benefits, and more. Although the AMPTP holds on to the last "P", we cannot forget ourselves as the “truly independent producers” who make up the heart and soul of production, working tirelessly from concept to screen and beyond.
In the pursuit of fairness and sustainability, let us reaffirm our commitment to principles of collaboration and collective strength --a future that includes sustainable careers, equitable working agreements, pensions, comprehensive healthcare, and more.
Our collective journey has seen remarkable strides over the years and I have no doubt that our commitment to our members' well-being will continue to drive us forward. As part of that movement, this September marks our first in-person NY event since the pandemic, beginning with a joint mixer with our sister organization Film Fatales, and this winter a screening conversation event, Producing for Impact co-sponsored by DCTV Firehouse Cinema. But more so, we're equally excited to unveil our inaugural in-person event in Los Angeles on Monday, October 30th. Occurring between AFI Fest and AFM, this event will herald the launch of our WIP LA chapter, providing an opportunity for our members on the West Coast to connect, collaborate, and continue our mission.
Lastly, allow us to shine a spotlight on one of our extraordinary members, Julie Crosby. Her recent creative journey exemplifies the essence of being a WIP member. Julie's dedication, vision, and commitment to her craft inspire us all. Her story serves as a reminder of what it means to be part of our vibrant community.
Upwards and Onward!! Adetoro Makinde
President & Co-Founder Women Independent Producer
JULIE CROSBY: Leaning In
by Erin Mae Miller
“I could not have produced ALIEN INTERVENTION if it were not for WIP. I had a ready and willing group of women able to share their experience.” Julie Crosby
Sometimes we connect and collaborate as WIP members and do not realize the immense talent and greatness in our midst. That’s why I write these spotlights because YOU need to know!
Julie Crosby is one of those members. Written up in the New York Times for her remarkable turnaround of the Women’s Project Theater Company (founded in 1978 by Julia Miles to address the under-representation of women in theater); Julie was tasked with the role of artistic director when the theater company was severely in debt and facing financial ruin. In 18 months, Julie Crosby turned the company around back into the black, and picked theater shows that won acclaim and attention from critics. Julie is a business powerhouse with creative acumen who has created remarkable success in her career. Let’s start at the beginning of Julie’s NYC dreams: “I came to NYC from a little town in Michigan and my father wept at the airport thinking I was going to be killed by the mob or something.” Like so many of us, she started from the bottom rung and flung herself into the uncertainty of her career, working for Actors Equity for a while and even though she didn’t know what producing was, worked in a Broadway producing office. Julie worked as a tour manager for both Broadway and off-Broadway, leading to the notable opportunity and remarkable success of her time with the Women’s Project theater company.
But theater was not all she had dreamed it up to be: “I got really burned out on theater and I got together with a group of other burned-out theater producers.” They produced Heirloom with playwright Bekah Brunstetter, who has also built a successful writing career in TV & Film. “We didn’t make any money back on it, but it was a great boot camp to figure out the medium.” What I love about Julie’s can-do attitude is she takes calculated risk and follows through - and she took that skill set and moved it to film, producing her first film, ALIEN INTERVENTION, directed by Janet Grillo (WIP member on Hiatus), edited by Soojin Chung (WIP member), post production by Stina Hamlin (WIP member), among other WIP collaborations like friend Jane Applegate. Julie says, “I really leaned into the WIP group. Jane Applegate was invaluable to me and gave me a lot of advice. We wrapped production last July and finished the film in February of this year. We ended up with 6 distribution offers, and they promised a lot of attention, but you look at where their catalogue is, and they are not impressive.”
Julie accepted a distribution deal with Lise Romanoff at Vision Films and recently got into Woodstock Film Festival.” ALIEN INTERVENTION had a budget of just under $1M and filmed in New Mexico, taking advantage of a 30% credit. I’m excited for WIP to support its release! Like many of us, Julie has a lot of irons in the fire, she continues to work in theater as an IA member and does house management (sort of like a line producer in film) and will be working for Moulin Rouge soon. She is also working on 2 more films in development: one is based on a musical she produced back in 2019 and the other is an adaptation of a sci-fi novel J. Christ – “it’s a wild, wonderful takedown of America through the lens of the reincarnated Jesus.”
What is so awesome about Julie’s experience with Women Independent Producers is how integral the community was to her film. “I could not have produced Alien Intervention if it were not for WIP. I had a ready and willing group of women able to share their experience. They were so generous. And that’s who I hired. I didn’t look beyond the group. Everyone is so talented and so committed. It’s been a mainstay of my transition into film, and the success has largely been because of WIP. I’m just really grateful.” And the feeling is mutual! We are very grateful for you Julie - you’re a powerhouse producer and we can’t wait to keep collaborating with you.
WELCOME NEW LEADERSHIP MEMBER
“In motion” epitomizes Roxanna Lewis – producer, live performance and film director, choreographer, performer. Creating community through insightful integration and promotion of the shining talents within this auspicious alliance is Roxanna’s overarching goal as Women Independent Producers' new Chair of Membership Operations.
Roxanna is currently working with author Cheryl Gyant writing/producing a true crime thriller based on her mother’s star crossed life.
MEET OUR NEW MEMBER
Rachel Stander is a Los Angeles-based independent producer focused on narrative filmmaking with credits such as SCRAP, and the upcoming SÉANCE. You can learn more about her and other members on our Producer page.
IN THE NEWS...
Join us in congratulating WIP Member Jenette Khan's latest film "THE BURIAL," starring Jamie Foxx, Tommy Lee Jones, and Jurnee Smollett and directed by Maggie Betts, that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The film will begin streaming on Amazon Prime starting October 13, 2023.
JOIN US AT WIP | LA...
If you are a Producer-level WIP Member, former member on hiatus, or LA based producer and you are interested in attending our LA event on Monday, October 30th, complete the registration form to receive a invitation by October 20th. Read our Membership Criteria for new member qualification and submission.
ORGs We Think You Should Know About
NYWIFT: New York Women in Film & Television advocates for equality in the moving image industry and supports women in every stage of their careers.
FILM FATALES: Community of women feature film and television directors
BROWN GIRL DOC MAFIA: Initiative advocating for women and non-binary people of color working in the documentary film industry around the world
DEAR PRODUCER: a platform where producers share their experiences, celebrate achievements, and provide mentorship for the next generation.
PGA: Producer Guild of America is a 501 trade association representing television producers, film producers and New Media producers in the United States.
WIF LA: Women In Film advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries—to achieve parity and transform culture.
NALIP: The National Association of Latino Independent Producers seeks to change media culture by advocating and promoting the professional needs of Latinx artists in media.
CAAM: The Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting stories that convey the richness and diversity of Asian American experiences to the broadest audience possible.
NYMI: The mission of New York Media Initiative is to come alongside media professionals, inspiring, equipping, and serving current and future leaders with a passion to use their profession to make a difference globally.
THE GOTHAM: The Gotham celebrates and nurtures independent film and media creators, providing career-building resources, access to industry influencers, and pathways to wider recognition.
SUNDANCE INSTITUTE: The institute is driven by its programs that discover and support independent filmmakers, theatre artists and composers from all over the world.
PRODUCERS UNION: The Producers Union aims to organize fiction, feature film producers in an effort to fight for equitable pay, protect producers’ creative rights, and to define, amplify and advance the role of the producer
BFTC: The Black TV & Film Collective facilitates career-advancing opportunities for creators of Black and African descent to achieve financial sustainability within the entertainment industry
DPA: The Documentary Producers Alliance sets standards for inclusive, sustainable and equitable business practices based on research, collective experience and input from strategic partners, amplifying the voice of documentary producers worldwide, while educating the industry about producers’ essential role from development through financing, production and distribution.
RESOURCES FOR CREATIVES: A list of grants, funds, and programs for women filmmakers
SUNDANCE Co//ab: Learn from a community of Sundance Advisors offering Masterclasses, webinars and more. (free memberships currently available)
FREELANCERS HUB: A community space designed to help New York City's freelancers
MOME: The City of New York Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment initiatives to address the underrepresentation of female and female-identifying creatives in film, television, and theatre.
ACTORS FUND: A partnership with other entertainment industry organizations to provide emergency financial assistance to those in immediate financial need.